T Nation

Getting to 5% or < BF

I want to get to 5% bf (lowest I’ve been is 10%). Can anyone point me in the direction of some good t-mag articles to assist in achieving this goal safely and with as little lean mass loss as possible? Also, please offer any advice that you have found to be helpful.

I got to 4.5% last summer with these simple principles: serious carbs only after training; lots of protien, and then some more; about 2600 cals a day-not that drastic at all; split weights 4X a week; lots of veggies; lots of EFAS’s (give CLA a try); Methoxy 7; creatine-till you really want to lose the water; LC GROW; lots of salmon; an ECA stack with yohimbine; here’s the kicker though-5 cardio sessions a week, 1 hr. each, either directy after weights or an am/fast session (very effective). Good luck though man, it was tough for me. Hence, my real cal. deficit came via craploads of cardio cause I need my food. If you eat and supplement right though, you’ll hang onto your muscle. Keep in mind though, this is only my opinion from my experience. The keys in my book to take you to the next level is the AM cardio and low carbs with lots of healthy fats and proteins.

Did you manage to stay there long pooh?

Dude, I hate to get bitchy, but it really sounds like you haven’t attempted to do any of your own digging/reading/research. Hit the archives, man, and start pulling up articles with Titles that sound appropriate. Try the FAQ, too.

I’ll try the CLA. Everytime I start to do a significant degree of cardio, I start to lose lean mass (even with my protein way high). This is why I have always stopped at about 10%. How much lean mass did you lose when you went down to 4.5%? Did you track this on paper? Thanks

I maintain anywhere from 4.5 to 5.5% BF at 6’1, 190-194 lbs and am lifetime natural. I talk with Dave Goodin, the WNBF Natural Bodybuilding champ and follow his advice. For me, that means 7 meals a day/400cals per meal. Nothing fancy- 40/40/20 for everything, 5 day split routine with 3X a week 15 minute wind sprints. Just to put my 2 cents in, I’ve worked out for 10 years now (i’m 25) and this is the conclusion i’ve come to. Any more questions i’d be glad to help! Take care,

Actually I have (in both places). I didn’t find much that was helpful (that told me to do something other than what I was doing–with the exception of fish oils). The articles confirm my experience (cardio takes too much lean mass). The new technique for fat loss seems to be increasing the blood lactic profile (which spurs release of GH, which, in turn, has a profound effect on burning off fat). I have been doing this for the last several weeks by drastically increasing my TUT. I experience some wicked burns now with every workout. It’s my understanding that such burns produce more lactic acid. I do need to try getting more Omega 3s into my diet.

I really don’t know if I lost ANY lean mass. I was around 190 at about 8-9%, then cut down to 178. The only place felt suffered was my quads because of the cardio onslaught. Likewise, I toned down my leg workouts since my legs were always recovering from hard running. I swear, I feel the Methoxy 7 helped me retain all my mass. Also, are you sure you lose mass when you step up the cardio? It may just be because your muscles are flat and drained of glycogen. All I had to do was cut back the cardio and throw in more carbs post training for about a week and poof, my muscle was back looking full and dense with no fat gain.

I have to agree with Poohbaya on this one. I’ve used almost the exact same approach in the past with outstanding results, with the exception of the excessive cardio (I only did four 30-minute sessions in the AM on weekdays). Right now I’m going the HIIT-style route with a jumprope, but only twice weekly, so we’ll see how results differ this time around. DEFINITELY include LOTS of veggies in place of complex carbs, DEFINITELY consume enough protein to equal 1.5-2g per pound of bodyweight, and as far as supplements go - even though I’m not so knowledgeable in this area - make sure you’re getting plenty of fish oils!

Ah, I see. Just didn’t sound like you’d put the work into research that you obviously have. Anyhow, have you experimented with anabolic LBM protection? 4-AD-EC is an excellent choice, even at half doses. I used Methoxy myself early this year, lost about 7lb of fat without any LBM loss.

Everyone is different, I am at 5% right now and the only way I can get here is ketosis. I have done low carb diets, but the only way for me to get this low is ketogenic diets. For me, that is the only way those last couple of % points fall off. Diet with carbs and reduced calories until you hit 10%, then try fat fast and you’ll be there in no time. I am a model and have to maintain this year round, so I know what it takes to get there. I maintain with moderate carb diets like the isocaloric diet. I don’t recommend keto as a lifestyle, but it works to get those abs and veins shinning through Bro!!!

Do you have carb up days like the Cheater’s Diet Joel talks about, and how often do you have them? Thanks

Well, it would really depend on the time frame I had to work with. I find that no matter what kind of low carb diet I do my thyroid and morning temperatures are lower than usual, so if I cheat, it is purely for satisfaction. Also, I am not concerned with any type of muscle supercompensation or anything like that (Bodyopus), if I want muscle I will be on a gaining phase. That being said, I normally do not cheat when I am dieting, I usually ride it out the whole way through unless there is a special occasion, and sometimes not even then. I don't know if I recommend that to everyone, but I just like to get where I want to be as fast as possible. I normally never go above 7% year round, but lets just say I was 10%. I would be about 195 or 200lbs, and I would start keto at 2000 calories week one and lower approx 250-300 cals a week until I hit fat fast levels ( 1300 cals). By this time I would definitely be back to 5%, as it would never take more than a month before I was back to five on restricted ketosis. If I was higher than 10% I would do a carb diet until I reached 10%. One more thing, I always use 4AD with 2000 calories or under, or I find too much muscle loss. With 4AD, minimal, if any loss. I surely don't think cheat meals are going to kill your progress, I just don't think more than one every two weeks is optimal on a diet in my own opinion. Everyone is different Bro, but that's just what works for me.